Schools may be forced to close with teachers planning pensions strike
�Schools across Havering are likely to close for a day next week as teachers strike against Government plans to slash their pensions.
Pupils and parents will face a day of disruption on June 30 following a vote from the National Union of Teachers.
Nationally, 92 per cent of its members voted in favour of strike action.
The union said the proposed changes to teachers’ pension schemes means they will have to work for longer, pay more and receive less when they retire.
The union said they are still open to negotiations with the government, but if an agreement cannot be reached the strike will go ahead.
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There are 1,300 NUT members in the borough and it is expected most of them will be striking on Thursday.
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Sue Kortlandt, joint secretary of the Havering Association of NUT, said a strike was the last resort.
She said: “The government has put forward proposals for teachers to put 50 per cent more into their pensions throughout their working life at a time when there is a pay freeze and in particular young teachers are coming in with huge debts from university.
“They are also proposing that teachers work longer – until they are 68 – when at the moment most don’t even work to 60 because it is too stressful.
“And when teachers do get their pension they will get 15 per cent less than in the past.”
She said teachers were striking after pupils have finished their exams so it would do the least amount of damage to their education.
Mrs Kortlandt added: “If the government is not listening what else can we do?
“We don’t get bonuses or a city salary. We expect a secure job and a secure pension to look after us in our old age, so this is not acceptable.”
Havering Council, which is responsible for education in the borough, said they have not yet received figures on closures.
Cllr Paul Rochford, cabinet member for children and learning, added: “We will be doing everything we can to keep as many of the borough’s schools open as possible should the teachers’ strike go ahead.”